It was to be a quick peek through a hand-wide crack, but enough to risk disillusionment and the dispersal of all the enchanting traumas he had articulated in his brain and his books, scattering them like those peculiar shadows he supposed lingered in that room. And the voices—would he hear their hissing which heralded her presence in a zone swirling with roping shapes? He kept his eyes fixed upon his hand on the doorknob, turning it gently to nudge open the door. So the first thing he saw was the way it, his hand, took on a rosy dawn-like glow, then a deeper twilight crimson as it was bathed more directly by the odd illumination within the room.
There was no need to reach in and flick the light switch just inside. He could see quite enough as his vision, still exceptional, was further aided by the way a certain cracked mirror was positioned, giving his eyes a reflected entrance into the dim depths of the room. And in the depths of the mirror? A split-image, something fractured by a thread-like chasm that oozed up a viscous red glow. There was a man in the mirror; no, not a man but a manikin, or a frozen figure of some kind. It was naked and rigid, leaning against a wall of clutter, its arms outstretched and reaching behind, as if trying to break a backwards fall. Its head was also thrown back, almost broken-necked; its eyes were pressed shut into a pair of well-sealed creases, two ocular wrinkles which had taken the place of the sockets themselves. And its mouth gaped so widely with a soundless scream that all wrinkles had been smoothed away from that part of the old face.